New South Wales v Victoria, Pura Cup, Sydney, 2nd day January 17, 2007

Thornely bats Blues into strong position

Cricinfo staff

New South Wales 189 and 6 for 208 (Thornely 71*, McGain 4-72) lead Victoria 129 (Bollinger 4-44) by 268 runs

Dominic Thornely's half-century put New South Wales in control © Getty Images

Dominic Thornely helped New South Wales extend their lead to 268 on a deteriorating pitch after the Blues denied Victoria first-innings points at the SCG. Thornely was unbeaten on 71 at stumps and despite four wickets from Bryce McGain, the Victoria legspinner, New South Wales reached 6 for 208 to give the Bushrangers an uphill battle to avoid defeat.

Thornely, who made his second half-century of the season, was the standout batsman on a day when 12 wickets fell and he toiled for nearly four hours in challenging conditions. He teamed up with Brad Haddin (39) and Beau Casson (23 not out) after McGain's early breakthroughs gave the visitors hopes of a smaller chase.

Playing his first Pura Cup match since 2003-04, McGain, 34, recorded his best first-class figures of 4 for 72 and removed the dangerous Phil Jaques and Simon Katich. Without Mick Lewis, who did not bowl due to a foot injury, the fast men had little impact and Thornely compounded Victoria's pain after they were dismissed for 129.

The Bushrangers lost 6 for 64 in the morning session as Doug Bollinger, Stuart MacGill and Matthew Nicholson tore through the line-up. David Hussey, the stand-in captain in the absence of Cameron White and Brad Hodge, failed to add to his overnight score of 41 before he edged Bollinger to second slip.

Bollinger took 4 for 44 but MacGill and Nicholson were just as important with three each. MacGill had Andrew McDonald caught behind for 34 and Nicholson enticed Adam Crosthwaite (22) to edge to Haddin to complete the carnage.